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The Top 5 Causes For Injury At The London Marathon & Their Treatment

For many people, running in The London Marathon is a dream come true but sadly, injury is all too frequent. Passionate runners are unlikely to be put off by this and the key, if you think you have suffered an injury, is to seek expert diagnosis and treatment.

What are the most common marathon injuries?
Plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendon pain, Iliotibial band syndrome, anterior knee pain and ‘shin splints’ are 5 of the most common injuries seen during and after the London Marathon.

Plantar Fasciitis is an inflammation of the ligament known as ‘plantar fascia’ that supports your foot’s arch. The ligament attaches to your heel, before splitting into several thinner bands that stretch towards your toes.

Achilles Tendon Pain is a problem frequently encountered by runners. In fact, the Achilles is the most commonly ruptured tendon in the body. Pain in the Achilles tendon is more commonly caused by inflammation, rather than rupture.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome is a common knee injury that is often linked to running, cycling and weight lifting. It is frequently evidenced by swelling or stinging of the area.

Anterior Knee Pain is pain experienced at the knee’s front, around the kneecap.

Shin Splints is characterised by discomfort in the leg’s lower reaches, between the ankle and the knee. It is common and often affects runners.

What can I do if I think I may have been injured?
The most important thing is to seek an accurate diagnosis. If a problem isn’t treated correctly, it can get worse.

Once an accurate diagnosis has been made, rest, ice and stretching are useful first aid measures which all participants should do following any soft tissue injury. Orthotics and high stability shoes may help plantar fasciitis pain. Avoid walking barefoot, and perform regular stretching for the calves and feet. Rolling your feet over a golf ball and icing the affected area can provide much-needed pain relief in the short term.

Long-term, however, you may need to strengthen the muscles in and around the feet and also correct any core muscle weaknesses in the gluteal region.

What are the best treatments for these marathon injuries?
It really does depend. The best thing is to arrange an appointment to discuss your injuries further, or visit us if you’re not sure what’s going on.

An injection of cortisone may be used in injuries that have not responded to rest or physiotherapy.

Other injections are occasionally required, particularly where weak ligaments are involved. Prolotherapy and Viscosupplement injections are useful in the treatment of weak ligaments and inflammation, respectively.

Sports Injury Diagnosis also provides an integrated service utilising effective complementary therapies such as acupuncture, lasertherapy/laseracupuncture, and more recently Neurocryotherapy.

Neurocryotherapy is particularly effective in acute tendon injuries and provides effective, rapid cooling in 30-60 seconds. It is a relatively non–invasive (no needles, and not painful) form of thermal shock therapy that needs application at least twice a week. There are some cases (e.g. for patients who suffer with cold intolerance or Raynaud’s disease) where this treatment may not be suitable. More chronic injuries, that have been present for over three or four months, may require more conventional ESWT (Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy).

Sports Injury Diagnosis provides two types of focal ESWT devices that cater for most problems. The Piezowave 2 device is the first piezoelectric ESWT device in the UK and provides relatively pain free therapy. One treatment every three weeks may provide up to a 70% success rate in some of these chronic conditions.

The orthoPACE is another ESWT device that also available in Sports Injury Diagnosis and provides effective electrohydraulic generated focal ESWT. Usually one treatment, repeated after 4 weeks, is all that is required. It is important to rest and protect the treated area for a 2/3 week period following treatment. The way it works is best is through trying to convert the chronic injuries (sometimes called injuries with failed healing responses) into more acute injuries which tend to heal better.

Sports Injury Diagnosis is here to help you overcome any musculoskeletal injury you’ve succumbed to, whether in marathon running or from involvement in any sport. Our renowned service sets a best-practice standard in the UK, and we have all the expertise necessary to get you back on your feet as soon as possible.

Please note: Piezowave II is no longer available as we have found OrthoPACE to be more effective for ESWT (Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy).